Apple’s announcement of allowing third-party keyboards on iOS devices saw a number of developers such as SwiftKey and Swype, pushing their apps to the App Store. The recent one to join the club is ReBoard, an app which introduces a bunch of handy shortcuts to other apps right inside the keyboard. While chatting, you might be interested in sharing useful links with the other person. It could be pictures as well but to do that you would have to switch over to another application. ReBoard takes away the pain of leaving your chatting application, giving you more than fifteen connections to other services currently. There wasn’t really a doubt on why ReBoard had to be our App of the Week.
ReBoard essentially replaces your keyboard and adds a list of options to carry out various functions without leaving the keyboard. This feat is possible through the app’s Command function whose symbol is similar to the Command button on the Mac and Macbook keyboards. The Command function enables you to invoke access to the various services so, you will be able to search images from the web and even YouTube videos right from the keyboard. Directed towards users who are highly concerned about productivity and want a seamless access to different services, ReBoard does a decent job of cutting down the time spent in switching applications.
There are several services integrated to ReBoard. Once you type in the Command function you will be able to scroll through all of them. So, if you wanted to share Wiki content of someone, this keyboard will let you do everything within the app. All you need to do is tap on the Command button, type the name and tap on the Wikipedia button. You’ll be presented with a short snippet of the Wiki article and you can further tap on it to come across ‘Insert Link’, ‘Insert Text’ and more options. All the services function in the same method. After you add the Command function, you need to type in the content in the desirable format pertaining to the service and finally tap on the service. The apps include services such as Google Search, Google Image Search, Wikipedia, eBay, Calculator, Music, YouTube, Google Translate, Unit conversion, etc. You can also connect your accounts from Google Drive and Dropbox. Connecting these cloud storage services will let you search all the files from your storage and directly share the links.
Getting familiar with the process of using these functions might take time and initially, you will have trouble using the services. It might actually slow you down but later when you get the hang of it, you’ll be able to use the functions easily. The keyboard employs some cool gestures but typing on it isn’t as smooth as the stock iOS keyboard. We spotted an anomaly while switching actions for the same input text where the text would simply disappear, leaving you with no choice but to enter the input again. There’s not much to nitpick about ReBoard since there aren't any major bugs that interfere with the flow of using all the actions.
ReBoard is available for iOS 8.1 and above, optimised for devices above the iPhone 5. Although the current version works fine on iOS 9, an upcoming update will settle all the compatibility issues. Though not recommended by the developers, we also tried it on the iPhone 4S and it experienced minor hiccups whenever the keyboard was loaded with no compromise in the actions of the various services. The future updates will include services like Todoist, Gifs, OneDrive, a few Evernote functions and more, as they plan on integrating more than a hundred services in a year covering productivity and general actions. Eventually, they also plan on developing and incorporating an autocorrect NLP program for better predictions and autocorrect. They have confirmed that they are already working on an Android version and we could see it coming around the next month. Until then, all you iOS users can download ReBoard for free on the App Store from here.